Being a graphic designer and artist living in New York, I can always find some distraction that will give me inspiration for my next project. I mean, New York has everything I could ever need or want. From spending a day at Central Park or taking in the latest play, I could spend all my time just exploring. The drawback to finding my creative inspiration is not working on projects or meeting deadlines. Let’s face it, a girl has to eat and my landlord would really like his rent check on time. Since I am not real fan of the routines, I have learned to manage my time to allow for that moment of spontaneity as well as meeting all the other demands of life. So, here are some of my time management tips that seem to help me stay organized and on top of everything.
Create a Calendar
Creating a calendar is a great way for keeping track of deadlines, appointments and projects. Since I am a visual person, I create a large calendar out of poster board each month. I know this style is a little old school, but I like being able to see the deadlines and the days that I can actually do something spontaneous. By the end of the month, the calendar looks like an art project with all the different colored markers making deadlines and all the projects crossed off. I also have a desk calendar that shows hours of the day. When I have multiple projects or appointments, I see how much time I have allowed for each task.
I am the queen of the to-do-lists. I make lists in order to know what items I need to finish first. I keep the list right by my computer. Checking my social networks and emails is my morning habit. By having the list right beside my computer, I know what I need to accomplish that day or what I can push aside until tomorrow.
Allow Extra Time
The last thing, I want is to stress out over a project when a deadline is looming. So, I always give myself extra time. I may look at a project and think that will only take a couple hours to complete. I am usually right in my initial assessments. However there have been other projects that are more detailed than I original anticipated. These projects can cause me to stress; the extra time eases that panic of not be able to meet a deadline. I want every project to be the best of my abilities in order to get future referrals.
Learn to Say, “No”
If I have too many tasks to do in one week, I will tell a client that I have to pass on a project. I want my work to be the best of my abilities. Learning to say, “No” can be difficult at first but sometimes this has to be done. By being honest with my clients, many have offered extended deadline which I can work into my current schedule.
Focusing on Me
I cannot be my creative self without getting enough sleep. I have learned to make sleep a priority. I admit I like staying up working until the morning hours. However, sleep is important to stay focused.
I also allow time just for me; time to be spontaneous and go out exploring New York. Or just a relaxing night where I sit in my pajamas and catch up on the latest television series. The choices are endless but there should be time just for you.